There is no fee unless the attorney wins the case for you. If the lawyer presents you with a contingency fee contract (I do this exclusively) and if the lawyer wins then he is entitled to receive $6,000 maximum. The payment comes from the back pay of the benefits that the applicant is entitled to receive. In other words, if you win $24,000 of back pay the lawyer is entitled to receive $6,000 out of this total. The Social Security Administration will carve out $6,000 and send you a check in the amount of $18,000.
If you receive a $20,000 back pay the lawyer is entitled to $5,000. If you receive $12,000 of back pay your lawyer is entitled to $3,000 that will be carved out of the full amount.
There are expenses that I need to spend in order to present your case in front of the Social Security Administrative Law Judge. If you are also my workers' compensation client I can probably get most of the medical documentation, records, and questionnaires completed under the WC system. However, you come to me and you have no other claim then I will need to get a retainer from you in order for me to start your SSDIB case. Here are some of the expenses you can expect to have in your case:
$850 for a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE);
$250 for one questionnaire and $500 for 2 that I will need to submit to one or two of your treating physicians who know your medical condition well;
$50 times 3 for various medical records to document your ongoing medical treatment;
$2,500 possibly a Vocational Evaluation by a private VE. This can be the highest expense in your case, and it may not be needed;
Frankly, many clients come to me that have no other claim and no group insurance benefits. They cannot afford for me to represent them. When they tell me that they cannot afford this “high cost”, I tell them they cannot put me “in a boxing ring blindfolded and tie on hand behind my back” and expect me to win their case. I need to produce quality evidence and that can only be done by paying medical providers to produce good evidence that you are disabled. Good evidence wins cases. Sparse or very little evidence gives the Judge an opportunity to deny your claim. That is a waste of everybody's time.